Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where's my Android? (or Why can't they make a normal sized phone?)

I've been looking at Android smartphones recently. I still have a year left on my contract for my iPhone 4S, but once that's done, I'd like to get an Android.  However, I'm having trouble finding one that meets my stringent specifications. So, I'm putting you on notice, Android phone manufacturers. If you want my business, you're going to need to make the phone I want, with at least the following specifications:
  • A 4"+ AMOLED display
  • A top of the line processor
  • Plenty of memory, and an SDcard slot
  • 4G LTE
  • Decent front and back facing cameras
  • Preferably, an HDMI port
  • Small enough to fit comfortably in my hand
The last point is the trickiest. Android manufacturers have concluded that bigger is better, and all of the top-of-the-line phones have a 4.7" screen, if not bigger. And they're talking 5" screens for next year.

I've had a chance to play with the HTC Trophy and Titan (Windows phones, I know). While the Trophy fits in my hand well enough, the Titan is too big. Now let's compare sizes:
  • HTC Trophy (3.8" screen)-  118.5 x 61.5 x 12 mm (4.67 x 2.42 x 0.47 in)
  • HTC Titan (4.7" screen) - 131.5 x 70.9 x 9.9 mm (5.17 x 2.79 x 0.39 in) 
And here are all the top-of-the-line Android phones:
  • RAZR MAXX HD (4.7" screen) - 131.9 x 67.9 x 9.3 mm (5.19 x 2.67 x 0.37 in)
  • LG Optimus G (4.7" screen) - 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.5 mm (5.19 x 2.71 x 0.33 in
  • HTC One X+ (4.7" screen) - 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm (5.29 x 2.75 x 0.35 in
  • Samsung Galaxy S III (4.7" screen) - 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm (5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 in)
Notice a trend? They're all about the same size as the Titan--a little bit taller, and, at best, an eight of an inch narrower. The width is what matters the most for comfortably holding the phone upright in one hand.  Apple, meanwhile, offers the iPhone 5:
  •  iPhone 5 (4" screen) - 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 in)
It's the exact same width as the iPhone 4 and even narrower than the HTC Trophy. In order to get an Android phone I can comfortably hold, I'd have to get a midlist phone, such as the DROID RAZR M:

  •  RAZR M (4.3" screen) - 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm (4.82 x 2.40 x 0.33 in)

To be honest, it looks like a pretty nice phone, though I hear the camera leaves something to be desired, and I'd really like an HDMI port. But it's the best I can find right now.

The problem is, I want a top-of-the-line Android phone. I'm willing to pay a premium for one. But if Android manufacturers can't figure out how to make a top flight phone that I can comfortably hold, my next phone may be an iPhone 5S, or whatever Apple calls next year's model.

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